29 Aug 2013

Solomons prime minister says Indonesia will meet all trip costs

6:59 pm on 29 August 2013

The prime minister of Solomon Islands has defended his recent visit to Indonesia, saying it was a breakthrough moment and benefits will come over time.

Gordon Darcy Lilo has faced strong criticism from civil society groups which allege he lied when he claimed the trip was paid for by Indonesia when in fact several hundred thousand dollars had been provided by the Solomons' government.

The Solomon Star reports Mr Lilo as telling local media that it misinterpreted his explanation last week.

He says while his government met some of the costs he expects these to be reimbursed by Jakarta.

He says he only agreed to the trip if Jakarta allowed a Solomon Islands delegation to also visit the Papua region.

Mr Lilo says he was told it was the first time Indonesia's president had accepted such a request.